The Israeli official Martial Art
The Krav Maga was developed in Israel in the early forties when the underground liberation organizations were fighting for the independence of the State of Israel. At that time, it was illegal to possess weapons. The inventor and developer of the Krav Maga was a heavy weight boxer champion, a judo champion, and an expert in jiu-jutsu. In addition, he was as a trapeze acrobat and a well known dancer. The knowledge he thus obtained, contributed to the development of the Israeli martial art of self defense. There is no hidden meaning behind the name Krav Maga, and literarily means “contact fight / battle”.
The Krav Maga was put into practice originally by the fighters of the liberation organizations that often went to battle armed with knives or sticks and with the knowledge of Krav Maga, and they were very successful. After the establishment of the State of Israel, Krav Maga was adopted as the official martial art taught in the defense forces, and especially in the elite police and army units. Krav Maga was integrated into army training by Imi Lichenfield, a career IDF officer and chief instructor at the army’s physical training facility at the Wingate Institute. Imi is still active involved in the Krav Maga Association and maintains the role of president.
Over the years, the Krav Maga has turned into an integrated part of training in many disciplines such as educational institutes. Krav Maga is taught in many public schools in Israel.
The Krav Maga is not an eclectic martial art system, rather, it was developed with the perception that the classic martial arts were lacking various elements. The defense needs in the eras that the classic martial arts were developed were different than those of today. New unique techniques for defense against pistols, guns and hand grenades were considered needed, and therefore developed.
Krav Maga has no Kata or specific sequences that must be followed. Students use the basic moves in conjunction with any one of a number of other moves to fend off an attack, the key idea being adaptability to new situations through improvisation. Emphasis is put on speed, endurance, strength, accuracy and co-ordination especially for intensive Krav Maga training.
Since the Krav Maga by definition is for self defense, it does not have any constitution and judicial rules and therefore there are no contests and exhibitions. The training is for practical usage in the everyday reality. There is a colored belt system with a Black Belt typically granted after 8 to 10 years of practice. Spiritual and philosophical aspects are studied only at the Black Belt level.